Seven states moved forward in the process toward developing a robust U.S. health information technology (HIT) infrastructure when their names were announced recently as recipients for additional funding for planning activities.
The announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) included the U.S. Virgin Island’s Medicaid program. As a recipient, the VI will receive federal matching funds for state planning activities necessary to implement the electronic health record (EHR) incentive program established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The Virgin Islands will receive approximately $232,000 in federal matching funds.
EHRs will improve the quality of health care for the citizens of the Virgin Islands and make their care more efficient. Electronic records will make it easier for the many providers who may be treating a Medicaid patient to coordinate care. Additionally, EHRs will make it easier for patients to access the information they need to make decisions about their health care.
The Recovery Act provides a 90 percent federal match for state planning activities to administer the incentive payments to Medicaid providers, to ensure their proper payments through audits and to participate in statewide efforts to promote interoperability and meaningful use of EHR technology statewide and, eventually, across the nation.
“We congratulate the U.S. Virgin Islands for qualifying for these federal matching funds to assist its plan for implementing the Recovery Act’s EHR incentive program,” said Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations at CMS. “Meaningful and interoperable use of EHRs in Medicaid will increase health care efficiency, reduce medical errors and improve quality-outcomes and patient satisfaction within and across the states and territories.”
The U.S. Virgin Islands will use its federal matching funds for planning activities that include conducting a comprehensive analysis to determine the current status of HIT activities in the territory. As part of that process, the Virgin Islands will gather information on issues such as existing barriers to its use of EHRs, provider eligibility for EHR incentive payments and the creation of a State Medicaid HIT Plan, which will define the state’s vision for its long-term HIT use.
See additional information on implementation of the Medicaid-related provisions of the Recovery Act’s EHR incentive payment program.